Social media is an inexorable part of modern life — and a go-to place for people to find the healthcare services they need.
In fact, research indicates that 3 out of 4 adults have searched online for information about a provider or practice, while 77% of patients report seeking information online sometimes or often. With the number of social media users in the United States expected to reach over 331 million by 2028, it makes sense to spend some time connecting with potential patients online.
Whether you’re diving into social media for the first time or want to breathe new life into your current strategy, start by following these simple tips.
Define goals for social media for your medical practice
As with most things in life, creating an action plan with clear and achievable goals is an important foundation. Developing a social media strategy will help you stay focused, build momentum, signpost your progress, and ensure that you don’t waste time or resources on activities that don’t serve your overall goals.
The first step is to determine your overall motivation for social media marketing. Are you trying to enroll more patients? Advertise new services? Connect with a different segment of the population? Establish yourself as a thought leader in your field? Figuring out your motivation will help you to determine the platforms you want to use and the types of content you want to post.
For instance, if your goal is to advertise that your medical practice now offers a new type of treatment or therapy, you might research how other providers advertise similar services using posts and hashtags to drive patients to their profile. On the other hand, if you want to establish yourself as a thought leader, you might consider which professional groups and associations to follow and engage to become part of the online conversation.
Clarify your social media approach
Once you’ve determined the “why,” you can start considering how you want to grow your online presence. Consider the following:
- Frequency: How often you want to post and how often you have the time to post might not match up. Consider picking one or two days a week to post content and then building that time into your schedule.
- Format: What type of content are you comfortable posting? Images? Videos? Live discussions? While different types of content perform better with different audiences, when you’re starting out, the best type is whatever you can commit to posting regularly.
- Function: It’s great if you get followers, but to what end? Do you have a practice website to which to drive them? Do you have an easy way for prospective patients to digitally enroll or schedule appointments?
Select your social media platforms
Picking the platforms you want to use is like picking your battles: only engage if you’re committed and confident in your ability to see it through.
For instance, you might love the idea of creating a YouTube channel to showcase your expertise and your practice’s services, but if you don’t have the time or experience to produce high-quality videos, it might not make sense to focus your efforts on them.
At the same time, while TikTok’s popularity has exploded — to the point that Gen Z uses it as a primary search engine — it’s worth considering whether you want to invest effort in a platform that might eventually become outlawed in the United States.